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The $300 PC

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February 19, 2007 12:08:38 PM

You get what you pay for, right? But what happens if you build a PC on the cheap? We packed two boxes with low-cost AMD and Intel CPUs and other inexpensive components. Guess who dominates the low end?

More about : 300

February 19, 2007 1:21:11 PM

First, I think Tom's Hardware is a great website and I've been surfing it for years. Packed with useful and interesting information.

That said, this article is really odd. It's titled "the $300 PC" but about halfway through, they basically say that "you can't build a futureproof PC for $300 so we didn't." But then the article says in the end that if you skimp on some components, then yes, you can get under $300. So why didn't you? That's the title of the article!

Also, the benchmarks aren't what you get if you buy the listed components, because the video benchmarks aren't even done with the specified WD 160GB Hard Drive. They're done with a raptor!
February 19, 2007 1:32:25 PM

This article really reveals what a pricing advantage the big resellers have. Right now one can purchase from Dell for $349 a system with a Sempron 3400+, 512MB of RAM, a 80 GB HDD, a DVD-ROM and Vista Basic.

I know people have their gripes about Dell (or any other other mfr) but given that this is a look at cheap (not best) systems and the THG solution doesn't include the cost for OS the economies of scale become very clear on the lowest end.
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February 19, 2007 1:35:53 PM

I'd also like to point out that in terms of fairness, the Intel system cost $26 more than the AMD system, and it was pointed out that the AMD system could have had an athlon 64 3200+ for only $10 more. This would have still put the AMD system at $16 less than the Intel one, and offered superior performance.

How much did Intel pay to have this 11 page ad for obsolete netburst processors?



P.S. I agree with carver_g, the benchmarks are misleading since the actual system wasn't used, possibly fooling some users into thinking they'll be getting better performance than they really will due the inclusion of the 150gb raptor. This drive alone costs more than half of the price of the test systems, and it's inclusion is unwarranted.
February 19, 2007 1:58:37 PM

They say "at least 350 W", but such a basic system cannot even draw 100 W.

Something wrong with the power supplies, I sense.
February 19, 2007 2:00:09 PM

Quote:
Actually here is an even sweeter deal. You get case, mobo, and power supply for one low price. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1685...


OMG. you can get at ewiz a 3800x2 am2 for about 100 bucks and 2 gigs of ddr2 667 ram for about 120 bucks. so bascially a 2 gig dual core machine with case and psu for about the same price of "going over" as this article. ugh. i hate articles like these.

yes i know those deals won't always be that cheap but still. the prices for the system they built here won't remain static either.

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?p=T6UX2GC5&c=fr ram
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?p=A64-3800CU&c=fr&pid=24... cpu

comes out to about ~$310 total before shipping. absurd.
February 19, 2007 2:07:39 PM

You might be able to knock this test setup down that low, if you went with an 80 GB hd instead of the 160, 512 MB ram instead of 1GB, generic components instead of name brand, and an OEM copy of vista basic. Just pulling stuff off NewEgg today (avoiding any sales) yields:

Sempron 3400: $76
512 MB DDR2 667: $40
PC CHips AGG3 Motherboard w/ integrated graphics: $47
80 GB WD800JD HDD: $44
LG dvd rom: $18
Cheapo case: $10
generic 350-400 watt PS: $20
Vista Home Basic OEM: $90

Total cost: $345

Shop around and you can find stuff cheaper (maybe save $10-20 and buy a cheapo case w/ a cheapo 400 watt PS). I know some of you will say that cheapo PS's and cases are crap, and I would agree (I would never use them personally), but the components Dell uses aren't much better, which is how they can afford to charge so little for them (in addition to the economies of scale factors in bulk purchases and mass production).
February 19, 2007 2:08:29 PM

If you're looking for a very basic computing experience, it's absolutely impossible to beat the big boys (Dell primarily). I think this "$300" PC review proved that... that PC lacked a monitor and an OS. However, once you start adding options (upgraded video, sound, etc) it quickly becomes a coin flip in terms of value. Once you're in the $2000+ range for a system, building it yourself is definitely a financially attractive option if you're willing to live without a unified warranty.
February 19, 2007 2:27:18 PM

As an experienced budget builder, I can tell you that you are going about it all wrong. In this morning's paper, there is an ECS GeForce 6100SM-M and Athlon 64 X2 5000+ combo for $99.99.

That's how you start a budget build. With a loss lead from XXX's Electronics. Then you add a sale-priced video card, like that XFX GeForce 7600GS that I saw on YYY.com for $50 after rebate. The key is to pickup almost every item on sale. Then stuff them into a medium or better quality free after rebate case (which you might have to get the day after Thanksgiving).

You have to remember that there is almost no other place besides computers where the item that you buy depreciates so rapidly. Where else can you spend hundreds or thousands and your purchase is guaranteed to be junk in three years. So, it's only smart to spend wisely. Compare this to good hand or power tools where you can pass them down to your grandkids.
February 19, 2007 2:30:18 PM

OMG link to that board and cpu? :D 
February 19, 2007 2:41:11 PM

Quote:
it was pointed out that the AMD system could have had an athlon 64 3200+ for only $10 more


In the UK, a 3200 costs the same as the sempron listed at £50 and an asus brand am2 motherboard is £35 so i don't think the best choices were made.

Is it just me or are tom's articles losing the quality they once had?
February 19, 2007 2:52:31 PM

Quote:
If you're looking for a very basic computing experience, it's absolutely impossible to beat the big boys (Dell primarily). I think this "$300" PC review proved that... that PC lacked a monitor and an OS. However, once you start adding options (upgraded video, sound, etc) it quickly becomes a coin flip in terms of value. Once you're in the $2000+ range for a system, building it yourself is definitely a financially attractive option if you're willing to live without a unified warranty.


I beg to differ; I took 30 minutes and found a system that costs less than the cheapest Dell desktop with components that are about the same quality or better than what Dell offers. Dell overprices just about every single upgrade to the base system, so if you want higher performance stuff, you will pay *way* more than the price of each individual component than you would if you built it yourself. Not to mention that the quality of components on the market is higher than what Dell offers, and the warranties are almost universally better. Most components come with 3 year warranties, which would cost a huge chunk of change to get from Dell.

The only reason to buy from a big builder like Dell is if you can't, won't, or don't want to build it yourself. There is no savings in money.
February 19, 2007 2:55:30 PM

Quote:
As an experienced budget builder, I can tell you that you are going about it all wrong. In this morning's paper, there is an ECS GeForce 6100SM-M and Athlon 64 X2 5000+ combo for $99.99.

That's how you start a budget build. With a loss lead from XXX's Electronics. Then you add a sale-priced video card, like that XFX GeForce 7600GS that I saw on YYY.com for $50 after rebate. The key is to pickup almost every item on sale. Then stuff them into a medium or better quality free after rebate case (which you might have to get the day after Thanksgiving).

You have to remember that there is almost no other place besides computers where the item that you buy depreciates so rapidly. Where else can you spend hundreds or thousands and your purchase is guaranteed to be junk in three years. So, it's only smart to spend wisely. Compare this to good hand or power tools where you can pass them down to your grandkids.


the $99 AM2 X2 is a price mistake. It's actually $199.99 those who went to frys yesterday and tried to get it was shot down. Also, how many people have a Frys close to them? so only west coast and mid us can build budget systems? East coast users don't have this deal, as there is no frys near them.
February 19, 2007 2:56:07 PM

Quote:
As an experienced budget builder, I can tell you that you are going about it all wrong. In this morning's paper, there is an ECS GeForce 6100SM-M and Athlon 64 X2 5000+ combo for $99.99.


8O
February 19, 2007 3:03:40 PM

The truth is, for the same price as either of their setups you can build an X2 3800 or other system that would blow either of those away. This article is very pointless.

If you want to build a budget system this is not the way to do it.
February 19, 2007 3:06:22 PM

I would say that if you are going to go this cheap just pick up a computer from bestbuy, compusa or dell. A lot of times after rebates you can get a pretty decent system for about (more or less) $300.00 bucks after rebates and at least you get a monitor and printer.......... :wink:
February 19, 2007 3:07:29 PM

Quote:
As an experienced budget builder, I can tell you that you are going about it all wrong. In this morning's paper, there is an ECS GeForce 6100SM-M and Athlon 64 X2 5000+ combo for $99.99.

That's how you start a budget build. With a loss lead from XXX's Electronics. Then you add a sale-priced video card, like that XFX GeForce 7600GS that I saw on YYY.com for $50 after rebate. The key is to pickup almost every item on sale. Then stuff them into a medium or better quality free after rebate case (which you might have to get the day after Thanksgiving).


Exactly. A real budget build takes time to assemble. I spent 5 months putting together a super low cost system for my aunt. All she does is browse the internet and send a few emails (and she does so little of it that all she needs is a 56kbps dialup internet connection). Shuffling through bargain bins, sales, and rebate programs, I was able to put together a complete system (I think it was an AMD K6-II 450 mHz or something - we're talking slow here) including monitor and printer (purchased used) and OS (Win 98) for under $150.
February 19, 2007 3:24:43 PM

call it a hunch but if the goal is to built cheap PC's won't we save money by using free OS (linux/BSD) instead of Windows?
(suggestion: get some feature-rich distro of linux (relatively speaking) to do the benchmarks, and raise the budget because you don't need to stick to windows)

Edit: You can still say the hardware is Vista ready, but just that you are not going to install Vista until you get rich.

(not that I am a fanboy of windows or linux, but linux does cost a lot less (None/cost of media compared to ~$100 US for XP MCE/XP Home/Vista Home basic and more for more premium editions of Vista) from a constrained budget point of view)

As to the "on sale" part, yes, you might want to catch almost everything on sale, BUT we have to have the scope that at least you can buy it at local places (which mean you don't have these things on sale all the time unless you check on the online retailers). Remember they don't necessarily have the day after thanksgiving sale outside the US.

speaking of which if there is some comp who ships worldwide we might want to test the build against their cheapest configurations
February 19, 2007 3:27:17 PM

lol, Intel didnt pay Toms to advertise for them a $50 netburst processor. lol wheres ur head at man, lets stay within the bounds of realism here. It would boast no gains for Goliath. lmao

Best,

3Ball
February 19, 2007 3:41:23 PM

Ya, well if I had $300 to spend I would check the adds for big name stores and pick up a computer with warranty and all the software I need.


Example: 5 second search:

Processor Class: Celeron D Processor
Processor Number: 356
Processor Speed: 3.33 GHz
Front Side Bus: 533 MHz
L2 Cache Size: 512 KB
Memory Speed: PC2-4200 (533MHz)
Memory Type: DDR2-SDRAM
Installed Memory: 512 MB
Memory Slots Total: 2
Memory Slots Available: 1
Hard Drive Capacity: 120 GB
Drive Controllers: SATA-300
Rotational Speed: 7200 RPM

$329 at Compsua

If your on this tight of a budget, Playing Oblivion on max is not your goal, rather its having a reliable computer that does what you want.
February 19, 2007 3:46:41 PM

Great article! It's about damn time we get to see just a little bit of Cedar Mill Celeron D. However, I'm deeply saddened that no overclocking was performed. Both of those processors had room to overclock. I want to see power consumption of the Celeron D at 4.8GHz!

I see lots of folks here are crying foul, but it's a moot point. I could have built either one of those two systems cheaper. There have already been plenty of good suggestions for building a cheaper AMD rig, so I'll help make Intel more cost effective:
A $95 Asus mobo? Are you frickin insane? You could have saved $35 by going with the Asrock DUAL-VSTA and been just as future proof. No integrated graphics, but the $35 saved could have purchased a Geforce 6200TC, much better than any current IGP. If you want the best perfromance/dollar, Fry's sells an E4300 and an ECS mobo combo for $150 (only $5 more than your mobo/cpu selection), which would have wiped the floor with AMD at this price point. If you wanted to match (or beat) the price of the AMD built, it's not hard to do. Buying this ECS mobo over the Asus would have put you at $326 for the Intel build.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Also, I SERIOUSLY doubt the effectiveness of 1GB of ram vs 512MB. I challenge THG to rerun their benchmarks with just 512MB. I'm confident the performance difference between 1GB and 512MB will be next to nothing. In fact if you would have just used a single 512MB stick of ram, you would have made your $300 budget of BOTH AMD and Intel (using the mobo I suggested).
February 19, 2007 3:49:32 PM

Quote:


Exactly. A real budget build takes time to assemble. I spent 5 months putting together a super low cost system for my aunt. All she does is browse the internet and send a few emails (and she does so little of it that all she needs is a 56kbps dialup internet connection). Shuffling through bargain bins, sales, and rebate programs, I was able to put together a complete system (I think it was an AMD K6-II 450 mHz or something - we're talking slow here) including monitor and printer (purchased used) and OS (Win 98) for under $150.


How long ago was that? I built the rig in my signature for $5 a year and a half ago (had to buy the CPU, all the rest was scavenged junk thrown out by people). It took me 6 months to come up with all the parts.
February 19, 2007 3:51:52 PM

Quote:
lol, Intel didnt pay Toms to advertise for them a $50 netburst processor. lol wheres ur head at man, lets stay within the bounds of realism here. It would boast no gains for Goliath. lmao

Best,

3Ball


I was just being sarcastic to illustrate the point that they favored Intel in the article, when the article explicitly states that they could have had a superiour AMD processor while still spending less than they did on the Intel system. For a fair analysis, they should have evened the budgets for each system. I build budget systems for people quite frequently, and time after time the low end Athlon 64 is the best bang for the buck, and even if it costs a couple dollars more, the performance difference from the Celerons is noticeable even to casual users.
February 19, 2007 4:18:53 PM

Quote:
Also, I SERIOUSLY doubt the effectiveness of 1GB of ram vs 512MB. I challenge THG to rerun their benchmarks with just 512MB. I'm confident the performance difference between 1GB and 512MB will be next to nothing.


All I will say about that is that its obvious that you haven't experienced the difference for yourself. Trust me, it is a very very large difference.

And for people who aren't going to upgrade their systems majorly in the next year or two or three (which happens to be people who spend 300 bucks on a system in my experience), going with a 939 AMD setup would be fine. You can still get PCI-E, but you get a reduced cost feature set. The 939 A64 3200's are only $49 at Newegg, and you can get a really nice 939 board for real cheap these days. Not to mention, DDR ram will be a bit cheaper soon, and right away you have much more performance for the exact same money. Sure, you won't be able to upgrade the processor in 24 months, but how many people, when faced with that situation and that have that capability, actually do upgrade their processors?

I rest my case.
February 19, 2007 4:41:50 PM

How about the five bucks more for the A64 3200+ instead of the semperon crap. Semperons are made for low budget business computing. They are weak, the five dollars more would have smoked the pentium D.
February 19, 2007 4:56:40 PM

Quote:
it was pointed out that the AMD system could have had an athlon 64 3200+ for only $10 more


In the UK, a 3200 costs the same as the sempron listed at £50 and an asus brand am2 motherboard is £35 so i don't think the best choices were made.

Is it just me or are tom's articles losing the quality they once had?

I am starting to feel the same way. Kinda reminds me of a video card article done a while back. Was supposed to be a comparison of cards that you could actually buy, but the reference card they used was a discontinued model. Seems like little research is done as far as what is on the market when they do these types of reviews. I saw a similar article done on maximum pc and they did a much better job and this was before the price cuts.

agreed. heres a quote from the $300 PC article. "You should, however, go for a pair of memory modules instead of a single module with the same capacity, because systems can operate two or four memory modules in so-called dual-channel mode to effectively double the memory throughput."

i didnt realize it was "so-called" dual-channel. last time i checked.. it was just dual channel. they speak of it as if it is a myth. the dragons and aliens and... so-called dual channel! they should just let the experienced forumz members write the articles and dump this staff.
February 19, 2007 5:14:32 PM

Quote:
Also, I SERIOUSLY doubt the effectiveness of 1GB of ram vs 512MB. I challenge THG to rerun their benchmarks with just 512MB. I'm confident the performance difference between 1GB and 512MB will be next to nothing.


All I will say about that is that its obvious that you haven't experienced the difference for yourself. Trust me, it is a very very large difference.

And for people who aren't going to upgrade their systems majorly in the next year or two or three (which happens to be people who spend 300 bucks on a system in my experience), going with a 939 AMD setup would be fine. You can still get PCI-E, but you get a reduced cost feature set. The 939 A64 3200's are only $49 at Newegg, and you can get a really nice 939 board for real cheap these days. Not to mention, DDR ram will be a bit cheaper soon, and right away you have much more performance for the exact same money. Sure, you won't be able to upgrade the processor in 24 months, but how many people, when faced with that situation and that have that capability, actually do upgrade their processors?

I rest my case.

Actually, I have used both 512MB and 1GB configurations, and I can say confidently, that it doesn't matter in 90% of the applications you use. Even the encoding applications they used won't see a real benefit with 1GB of ram when bottlenecked by the current CPUs. But hey, don't take my word for it, take THG's:






The results are much more accurate than the butt-o-meter. :wink:
February 19, 2007 5:21:27 PM

Quote:
How about the five bucks more for the A64 3200+ instead of the semperon crap. Semperons are made for low budget business computing. They are weak, the five dollars more would have smoked the pentium D.


Exactly.

I think we can all agree that there were some serious flaws with this article. To me, this seems like an article that was done in a matter of a few hours by someone who didn't really want to do the proper research/didn't know how to do the proper research. I too am expressing my displeasure with how recent tom's articles have been losing their focus on enthusiasts and have been slowly turning into just another online tech journal.

To the editor:
STOP THE MADNESS!!! Set yourselves apart from the other sites on the web. If we wanted to get the same stuff as everyone else has, we'd visit those sites and get it from the source, rather than from the copycat. This site has traditionally been a hardware enthusiasts site, and so it should remain. Articles aimed for the computer noob should not be done here. While I say its nice to see that someone is doing a low budget build with today's stuff, its not nice to see it all screwed up as this article is.

I am disappointed Toms Hardware. I am truly disappointed.
February 19, 2007 5:33:06 PM

Hi,

I think that this would make a better $300 pc and it clocked in at $356

cpu pentium D 805 75
ASUS P5VD2-X LGA 775 VIA PT890 ATX 56
Kingston ValueRAM 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 533 74
MSI NX6200LE-TD64E GeForce 6200 LE 256MB 31
heatsink 14
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 ST380811AS 80GB 45
Rosewill RV450-2 ATX 2.01 450W 32
COOLMAX CV-560-White White 0.6mm Steel 9
ASUS Black E-IDE 12
CORSAIR 512MB Flash Drive 8


the CPU kicks ass compared to what the choose and the motherboard has more room for expansion and has more features like ESATA. also because of the lack of onboard video i added a 6200 PCI e . i may not be the best but it should beat onboard

also because there is no floppy or cd- burner I tossed in a cheep USB drive
February 19, 2007 5:36:55 PM

What were the specs on the rest of the system? If this is a budget system (I very highly doubt it), then you may have a point. If you have a computer with very fast hard disks it makes no difference how much you have to swap. But with a disk with a single platter, a processor under or at 2ghz, and memory that may not be the best, 512 mb is going to have a very noticeable difference in day to day usage.


Running some benchmarks that are intended for CPU benching aren't going to show you that. Even with the PCmark Memory test, its only testing the speed of the memory. Once you get the system loaded up with an antivirus, firewall, iTunes (heaven forbid!), quick time, viruses, spyware, etc., the system will very quickly show that it has only 512 megs rather than 1g. So I still contend that you haven't really used an XP based system with 512 megs of ram for any serious amount of time.
February 19, 2007 5:48:10 PM

no windows in there as well £220 is the price with out windows and £280 with it (£60-£70 for windows XP or Vista OEM) you can get dell pcs with flat pannel for £300-350 that work quite happy


@TOM
the Last 3-4 reviews if you can call them Full reviews have been miss leading or not thought out compleatly, need to do better as its starting to just look like advertiseing now for an product (in this case Intel if any thing Both should of been same price, as well as parts used and should of met the price point of £200/$350 insted of going offtopic agane)

i could allso add that the prices/parts are not right but you got 5-6 psters that tell you that
February 19, 2007 5:49:44 PM

well of course using 512meg over 1 gb of ram won't be noticeable.

that is, until you actually use the pc. then you'll be holy crap /sucks

i know for a fact cause i was there at one point.
February 19, 2007 5:53:18 PM

Quote:
As for the system specs,
http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/12/13/how_much_ram_do_...

That's not very high end at all. I rest my case.


Take into account that the article was put out in '05:

AMD Athlon 4000+
Abit A8N Fatal1ty NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra Chipset
Corsair Pro Series DDr 400, CL2.0-2-2-5-2T
6800GT
Maxtor DiamondMax 10 300 GB, 16 MB Cache, 7,200 RPM

Those parts, even today would run 500-600+ together. Back then that machine probably cost in the 1-2k range.

I think this page sums up what I'm trying to say quite well:
http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/12/13/how_much_ram_do_...
February 19, 2007 6:00:18 PM

Ya, the article is old, but I don't know how much a difference that hardware makes vs the cheap stuff. It's not like they used Raptors or Raid.
February 19, 2007 6:06:54 PM

Quote:
Hmmmmmmmmm... with due respect to this site and ALL of it's contributors, let me say that of all the STUPID PRO-INTEL articles I have seen on this site, this:
http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/02/19/the-300-pc/index...
stands above all; NOT a gaming benchmark, NOT a computational benchmark, NOT a rendering, NO multitasking, NOTHING but all what the Celeron was able to beat the Sempron at; media streaming (finely subdivided into a dozen of different software and ever-idiot synthetic benchmarks to fill a whooping 3 pages); SHAME ON WHO WROTE IT.

When it has been proven and overproven that (especially on stock) the sempron is a cheaper and better performer than the CeleronD, BLAH.


I grabbed that quote from a different thread, but I really think it's worth repeating. The bias, intended or not, and lack of thoroughness in the article erodes the confidence I have in THG reviews. I challenge THG to add the missing benchmarks. I also echo other poster's comments about THG being unwilling to spend and extra $10 on the AMD system when the Intel system was already $30 more expensive. In any case, even with the Semptron, the missing benchmarks would likely show the real winner is AMD.
February 19, 2007 6:19:06 PM

I got xp up and running on a pentium 133 laptop with 128mb of ram. I know the person who uses it, and it works every day. It sucks to work with though.

It seems you put much more work into keeping your computer clean than most people. For that I commend you. But for the majority of users out there, having 512 megs of ram just doesn't cut it. For the obvious target audience of this article, having 512 is definitely bad advice, as they won't be taking as much care of the os as you or I or any other professional would be doing. With having 512 you have to have all these if's, like if you're good with the software, and if you take good care of the system. Most people just don't fit those, and so 512megs is not sufficient.

I will concede that 512 can be sufficient if you take real care of your system and keep it fresh and clean all the time.

BTW, my first computer that I personally owned was a k6-2 350mhz with 256 of ram with XP (pre sp1). I saw a huge boost when I went to 512, but then saw it die again when I put sp2 on there so I could get updates. By that time I got a new computer (this time Athlon XP 2100+ with 512), and saw another boost in performance. I eventually got another half gig (which I'm still using in the rig below), and what a difference I saw. Now, I've got another gig coming in the mail (good deal, ebay) and I expect another significant performance boost.

Sorry if I inadvertently put you down over the course of this discussion. I work with a very wide variety of systems (university computer services) and I see the differences every day. I just assumed that you had only used 512 in a very limited sense, and for that I apologize.
February 19, 2007 6:27:14 PM

Hey, sorry if I acted offensive, I edited my post to relay what I feel is the really important thing. I agree more ram is always a good thing though, as eventually, some application will come along that you want to use, or some Operating System upgrade, and you find yourself on the short end of the stick. If/when I ever get Vista, I'll be sure to have more than 512MB in my PC

Cheers!
February 19, 2007 6:33:01 PM

@your edit:
It does make a huge difference. OC'ing can level the playing field, but at stock, the more expensive stuff blows the budget stuff out of the water. Thats why its so much more expensive.

That edit also makes me look like I'm ranting about nothing... I hate it when that happens :(  . Oh well, I guess other people will see the point I've been trying to make within that post, at least thats the hope...
February 19, 2007 6:38:04 PM

I agree that many of the articles on Tom's have been lacking lately (at least the last 6 months). It seems like they wait for 3-4 months after a product comes out to review it. And often after they write the review it takes another couple of months before it shows up on the site.

There are at least a few good writers for Tom's. Cleeve (who's actual name I never remember) always writes good hardware articles and Arron and Rob over at TwitchGuru usually write decent articles (with some minor objections). I might be a little biased since those are also pretty much the only authors that actually respond to the comments in the forum, but maybe their articles are better BECAUSE they listen to the users in the forum.
February 19, 2007 6:42:30 PM

Quote:
You get what you pay for, right? But what happens if you build a PC on the cheap? We packed two boxes with low-cost AMD and Intel CPUs and other inexpensive components. Guess who dominates the low end?


Shouldn't this be called the "under $500 budget computer"? The Intel equipment is $360, no where is shipping or tax shown. And the last time I checked, a computer is pretty useless it's got an operating system. That's about $100 for an OEM OS. Do the real world math boys, not some fantasy, pull a number out-of-your-ass, figure.

Where's the monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer? Is this supposed to a replacement for an out-of date comp? Then shouldn't it be called a "$300 budget overhaul"? You can recycle the optical drive, case, floppy, and possibly the hard drive. It would have to be researched as to whether or not the old power supply is up to the task. If you want to "go cheap", you can usually get away with running the OS you currently have by installing the relevant drivers. MS will most likely balk, and want to be re-activated. No big deal.

Please get out of "fantasy land" and join us here in the real world.
February 19, 2007 6:45:56 PM

Quote:
Yea it seems they did not put much thought or effort into finding their hardware for the price range they wanted.


Quote:
The truth is, for the same price as either of their setups you can build an X2 3800 or other system that would blow either of those away. This article is very pointless.


Quote:
it was pointed out that the AMD system could have had an athlon 64 3200+ for only $10 more


Quote:
Is it just me or are tom's articles losing the quality they once had?


Quote:
I am starting to feel the same way. Kinda reminds me of a video card article done a while back. Was supposed to be a comparison of cards that you could actually buy, but the reference card they used was a discontinued model. Seems like little research is done as far as what is on the market when they do these types of reviews. I saw a similar article done on maximum pc and they did a much better job and this was before the price cuts.


A few months ago I raised the issue that it seems Tom's has no editors. Several articles came out with several typos and incorrect grammer.
People were in agreeance, and I wasn't the first to bring it up I don't think.

Then...

About 2 weeks ago another forum member raised questions about another article, where the sources sited disagreed with the Tom's Hardware Charts. I proceeded to further question it, as they never really replied to his questions, but instead said something to the effect of "we'd be stupid not to use outside sources too" Well that's fine but when what you're saying doesn't match your own website? Hmm. Needless to say they dodged the question, and some old hand on here who I won't mention also preferred to bicker. I displayed that the text wasn't wrapping in the forums correctly in two posts (on different pages) because they'd just changed the site and it was f'd up. Seems they've fixed it since, but not before they banned me for a week. Tom's has gone to Hell. Period. I might read a few articles and forums, but I can no longer consider Tom's to be a good website. The majority of the articles on this site aren't exclusive to Tom's anyway. You can find the same articles elsewhere. I thought this site was bonafide research, a source of product information...and it no longer appears to be 100% accurate or sound. I wouldn't think Tom's is struggling for money, but maybe all these one sided articles and product ads aren't paying off...

I for one, don't consider NewEgg or PriceGrabber as the only sources for finding good deals online anymore. Froogle turns out many independent resellers. Some of the (mostly Cali-based) online tech stores share warehouses and owners...it's sometimes the same company appearing to be many. Competing with themselves to edge out other entrants. Dirty business tactics IMO. Be wary peeps. Tom's is the same way, part of a network..notice the ads are the same, the articles are the same, the forum is even the same...
This will probably get deleted soon for pointing that out, read fast!
February 19, 2007 6:58:21 PM

I'm a bit confused by something I read in the conclusion of the article:

Quote:
The remaining question is: Which is the better low-cost solution, the AMD or the Intel system? Most of the benchmarks are dominated by Intel's Celeron D processor 352


Yet both the AMD and Intel both won exactly 7 benchmarks each; and the differences that each won in balanced out with each other making it appear that both builds were equal. I definitely wouldn't think either dominated the other.
February 19, 2007 7:01:42 PM

I guess this is what happens when you sell your soul (or website) to a publishing corporation. Tom of toms hardware isn't even here anymore, and it has slowly lost its ability to be relevant. I hate it when those companies do that. (I know its opening another can of beans, but) Its the same thing that the music industry does with up and coming musicians. They hear a sound they like, then force those musicians to have the same sound for every album/song to "maximize" profit, until the public has completely burned out on it. The same sort of thing is happening here. They took something that had real potential on all fronts, boiled it down to what took the most money at the time, and maximized that part of the site. Unfortunate consequences, yes, but inevitable for any good site. I fear this site will suffer an untimely death and become devoid of any real semblance of enthusiasm for hardware.

This makes me sad :cry: 
February 19, 2007 7:22:29 PM

In THGs defense, you do get a little out of hand some times in your forum postings. I read (and I think participated in) that thread from a couple weeks ago and the author's reponses were somewhat adequate. He basically said, "I don't write all of the reviews / benches on this site and I read reviews / benches from a bunch of sites, including Toms, when writing my articles". That seems like a valid response to me. The writers (I believe) are somewhat freelance and write for different sites, so I understand that they have their own opinions that aren't necessarily the same as THGs or one anothers.

That being said, I don't think you were worthy of a ban (just try not to rant so much). I also agree with what you have said. There have been many grammar and spelling errors (not as many lately) and sometimes benches that just don't make much sense and aren't explained. The main reason that I read Tom's pretty much daily if for the intelligent and reasonable threads that this forum produces. There are some people that tend to be fanboys and some rant posts, but this forum is better than most others.
February 19, 2007 7:23:24 PM

psh!

i just built a compy for 211 bucks CANADIAN. mind you, i didnt need a case or hard drive, but still thats not gonna go over 300 bucks even if i have to buy those pieces.

i built a celeron d 2.66ghz, 512 ddr2 533mhz ram, agp 775 mobo, 300 watt fsp power supply... so if can do it for under 300 canadian, it should be possible to do it for at least $250 in US dollars.

thats just shoddy investigative reporting. :wink:
February 19, 2007 7:54:52 PM

Quote:
I guess this is what happens when you sell your soul (or website) to a publishing corporation. Tom of toms hardware isn't even here anymore, and it has slowly lost its ability to be relevant. I hate it when those companies do that. (I know its opening another can of beans, but) Its the same thing that the music industry does with up and coming musicians. They hear a sound they like, then force those musicians to have the same sound for every album/song to "maximize" profit, until the public has completely burned out on it. The same sort of thing is happening here. They took something that had real potential on all fronts, boiled it down to what took the most money at the time, and maximized that part of the site. Unfortunate consequences, yes, but inevitable for any good site. I fear this site will suffer an untimely death and become devoid of any real semblance of enthusiasm for hardware.

This makes me sad :cry: 


Post of the Day. :trophy:
February 19, 2007 8:04:56 PM

Quote:
How long ago was that? I built the rig in my signature for $5 a year and a half ago (had to buy the CPU, all the rest was scavenged junk thrown out by people). It took me 6 months to come up with all the parts.


This was four years ago, and I actually purchased everything, rather than search through scrap heaps.

And props to you for sticking with the K6-II >;o)

I still have one in my basement that I run IPCOP on now. In various incarnations that machine has been running 24/7 for almost 11 years now, with few stops. I'm almost afraid to touch it, the cpu, mb, ram, and hdd are all original equipment and might fall to dust if I breath on them hard. >;o)
February 19, 2007 8:22:26 PM

Quote:
I guess this is what happens when you sell your soul (or website) to a publishing corporation.

--8<--

This makes me sad :cry: 


Post of the Day. :trophy:

Indeed. I'm beginning to think Future Publishing is behind THG these days.

(I should point out i have been reading THG for years, I only joined the forum very recently though!)
!